The Fundamentals …
To maximize the size of the biceps circumference, you cannot leave out the brachialis which pushes the biceps up making the biceps seem taller. To maximize the recruitment of the brachialis do hammer grip curls and choose a slower rep speed as compared to a quicker tempo.
The biceps have two different heads and it is possible to put more stress on one head over the other. For example, barbell curls with a narrower grip will put more stress on the longer head, whereas a wider-grip will put more stress on the the short inner head.
Additionally, curling the bar up to the nose will force a construction of both ends of the of the long head.
To fire-up growth of the biceps, hit them hard three days per week on a nonconsecutive basis for six weeks.
Don’t Overlook the Brachialis!
It is impossible to begin to maximize the size of the peak of your biceps without the underlying and often-neglected brachialis.
Similar to the biceps, the brachialis is an elbow flexor and because of its position under the biceps, it pushes the biceps up as it grows, making the biceps look taller. Likewise, a completely-developed brachialis will increase the total circumference of your upper arm.
The brachialis is also visible on the lateral aspect or side of the arm. In order to see the brachial you have got to be considerably lean, however be as it may, overall the arm will look thicker with a properly developed brachialis.
How do you go accomplish bigger biceps?
The essential key is to use a hammer grip shifting the emphasis towards the brachial as compared to the biceps brachii.
Note, hammer curls this will also hit the brachioradialis, a forearm muscle, which is also an elbow flexor adding size to the overall arm.
Like squats are for quad development, dumbbell hammer curls are for the brachialis. To execute the movement, curl the dumbbell up keeping the grip of the dumbbell aligned with the humerus.
This puts your wrist half-way between pronation (palm facing down) and supination (palm facing up). You can compare your grip to the position used to grab a hammer.
Additionally, you could also do neutral-grip barbell curls if you have access to the bars with vertical handles.
Moreover, the rope hammer curl is another option by attaching a rope to a low pulley. Yet another option are reverse curls using a barbell or dumbbells.
To conclude, the following exercises will target the brachialis:
- Dumbbell or Barbell Hammer Curl
- Hammer Curl Using a Rope
- Neutral-Grip Barbell Curl Using the Easy curl bar
- Reverse Curl Using a Barbell or Dumbbells
Don’t stress about having to use various hand positions or angles. Like any other muscle, a variety of rep ranges should be used in order to maximize hypertrophy or increase in muscular size.
Slower is Better for Brachialis Rep Speed
When you want to maximize the recruitment of the muscle fibres of the brachialis the repetition speed is an important factor, specifically the negative position of the movement or the eccentric motion.
A study found that when doing the eccentric portion of the movement slowly, it increased activity of the brachialis and decreased that of the biceps brachii. This may be due to the fact that the brachialis has more slow-twitch muscle fibres compared to that of the biceps. Moreover, the brachialis plays a stabilizing role whereas the biceps are used for more explosive movements.
In the study however they were performing a supinated elbow flexion, through it is still a good idea to tend towards a slower rep speed to increase stress placed on the brachialis.
Adding one exercise for the brachialis should be sufficient, however, doing at a minimum of two elbow flexion exercises on every other biceps day is a good idea.
The biceps brachii are composed of two distinct heads, the long head and the short head. The short head is positioned on the medial aspect and the long head on the lateral aspect.
A good way to think of it is the long head being the outer bicep and the short head being the inner bicep.
An emphasis can be put on the two distinct heads when performing curls. For example, doing barbell curls with a narrower grip will put more emphasis on the long head, while doing wider-grip curls will put more emphasis on the short, inner head.
A few other techniques you can use that will hit the biceps a little more is to pre-stretch the long head by doing dumbbell curls on an incline. Starting the dumbbell curl with your arm extended will stretch the longer head forcing it to work harder.
Another technique is to bring your elbows forward as you approach the top, fully-contracting the bicep. For example curling the barbell bar up to your nose. That will provide a peak contraction forcing the long head to contract across both ends.
Maximizing Your Peak
You can target the longer head by:
- Curling the Barbell to your Nose or the Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Using a Narrow-Grip on a easy curl bar
Sets, Frequency and Speed
Slower curls put an emphasis on the brachialis whereas faster curls hit the biceps harder. Therefore it is sensible to do a portion of our curls with a quicker tempo.
To maximize recruitment of the biceps keep the eccentric portion of the curl between one and two seconds. The number of sets you perform, depends largely on how often you’re going to train biceps.
Take most sets to failure, while doing biceps every five to seven days. Performing nine to twelve sets, excluding warm-up sets, in a biceps and brachialis workout is often enough to maximize growth. Nine to twelve sets divided across three to four exercises will provide a variety of stimuli to the elbow flexors.
When implementing forced-reps and negatives, you should aim towards fewer sets.
Rapid Growth Outline
A general recommendation is to do Bi’s every five to seven days, however, a good idea to kickstart bicep growth is to train them more often and for shorter periods of time. For example doing bi’s on 3 nonconsecutive days a week for a total of 6 weeks.
The number of reps and the amount of rest in-between sets are to be inversely proportional, examples include:
- 5 sets, 5 reps – 120 seconds rest in between
- 3 sets, 8-12 reps – 75 seconds rest in between
- 4 sets, 12-15 reps- 30 seconds rest in between
The goal is size so you want to put an emphasis on stress to induce hypertrophy of all components of the muscle cell and therefore variety essential.